"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Putting on My Walking Shoes

I got up this morning and put on my exercise clothes: Umbros, bicycle shorts, and a sleeveless tee. Then I fixed my husband a little breakfast and sent him out the door. Shortly thereafter I slipped on my walking shoes. It was not a gym day, so I opted for a couple of laps around the block in my neighborhood. But somehow I never made it. I got busy with other ... "stuff." A little stint on the computer, preparation to bake a cake, a little reading, etc. And before I knew it, the time allotted for my walk had disappeared. And so as quickly as I had slipped them on, I removed the shoes; not once taking the opportunity to put them to use.

I couldn't help but remember what my friend Vicki's mother told her when she purchased one of Richard Simmons' exercise videos so many years ago now. "I've watched that thing 3 times and I still haven't a lost a pound!" We still laugh about that today, but I could just about say the same thing concerning my walking shoes. "I've put those things on every day for a week now and still haven't lost a pound!"

And then I got to thinking about all those books on prayer that line my bookshelves. There must be 50 of them. From the mystics to modern day. E.M. Bounds. Andrew Murray. Phillip Yancey. Stormie Omartian. Watchman Nee. Henri Nouwen. And the list goes on. And I've even read many of them. In fact, that's the easy part. But what good does it do if I read every last one of them from cover to cover but never pray? Could I not just as easily say with my friend's mother, "I've read every book on prayer and I'm still not getting any results"? Just reading about it. The truth is the work begins when we start doing it. I remember someone telling me one time that prayer not only works, it IS the work. How true. But yet I tend to just put it on like an old walking shoe and do a few things around the house. I never get to the real purpose of why I put them on in the first place.

Sure, I got a few things done while wearing my pumps. I emptied the dishwasher, made the bed, and I might have even read from a prayer book that I'm particularly enjoying right now. And you've got to admit that a walk around the block, twice, can be so ... boring. At least at home I'm accomplishing some things. But the truth is that the real purpose of the shoes is to do an inner work. The aim is to get the heart pumping and make it stronger.

Ah, yes. There it is. Could it be that the real purpose of prayer is to do an inner work as well? That when I pray, my spiritual heart becomes stronger?

Maybe I ought to put my shoes on in the morning and head straight out the door for a little cardio. And maybe, too, I should lay the book down and do the real work.

Just an ordinary moment...

1 comment:

rebekah a. said...

Being a morning person, if I could just get "everything" done in the morning hours, how disciplined I would be! Devotion and prayer, exercise, hobby, etc, all w/o unnecessary diversions. But each important thing takes time and focus for good results. I must stay on track! :)